When you start a PPC campaign on the AdWords platform, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the choices, particularly when it comes to keyword types. It’s almost like being on a dating site! Will a broad match keyword deliver what you want or are you going to deal with a lot of losers hoping to find the diamond in the rough? Or are you the patient type, ready to wait for clicks on an exact match? Just like choosing the perfect mate, refining the match type you use in your campaign allows you to cut unnecessary time and money on clicks that won’t lead to happiness.

The biggest piece to remember is each deeper level of the match you choose may decrease your traffic and impressions but should increase your relevancy (and click-thru-rate), so it’s worth the time and the testing to see what works best for your campaign. Keyword research is certainly important, but using the correct match types can have as major impact on your final results.

When choosing the right match type for a keyword for an ad on the Search Network, start at the top and work your way down. Start with broad match keywords to show your ads on relevant searches, then monitor your keywords’ performance and make your keyword match types more specific if you find that your ads are showing up for too many irrelevant variations of your keywords.

Let’s say you are a clothing vendor and you want to promote your Carolina Panthers apparel (as the 2015 NFC champions, of course you would!). One of the keywords you would probably want to use is ‘Panthers jersey’. But what’s the best way to use it?

Broad Match Type

This is actually the default match type in AdWords. With broad match, you have the biggest possibility for impressions, but sometime you can get too broad, as your ad may show if a search term contains any word in your key phrase, in any order, and possibly along with other terms Google feels are relevant.

Broad match keyword

Panthers jersey

Ads may show on searches for

Carolina Panther jerseys

football jerseys

football shirts

panthers in new jersey zoo

black panthers

Essentially, broad match is like going to singles night at your local bar. Your keywords will find search term matches, but there’s the risk that they won’t be the perfect fit for your business.

Modified Broad Match

Modified broad match keywords won’t show your ad for synonyms or related searches, though it will still display in any order. This allows you ads to only show when someone’s search contains those modified terms, or close variations of the modified terms, in any order. When you add the plus sign in front of a term in your keyword, you’re telling Google that the search query must include that term.

For instance, let’s say you enabled modified broad match in AdWords for the keyword “panthers shirts.” If you append the “+” parameter to the word “panthers,” Google can only match your ads to queries that include the word panthers. If you append it to the word “shirts,” search queries must include that word before you ad can enter the auction.

Modified Broad

+panthers +jersey

Ads may show on searches for

jersey for carolina panthers

panther sightings in New Jersey

Ads won’t show on searches for

football jerseys

football shirts

black panthers

Phrase Match Type

Your ad will only appear when a user searches your key phrase using your keywords in the exact order you enter them, but there might be other words either before or after that phrase. To use phrase match, put quotes around your keyword when uploading it into AdWords..

Phrase Match

“Panthers jersey”

Ads may show on searches for

Carolina Panthers jersey

Buy panthers jersey

get panther jerseys

Ads won’t show on searches for

new jersey zoo panthers

Jersey City Panthers

Exact Match Type

Exact match is the most specific of the keyword match types. With this match type, users can only see your ad when they type your exact keyword phrase by itself. It is the most restrictive match type and will lead to the fewest impressions. However, since your keyword matches the search query exactly — and hopefully matches your ads and landing pages — you should expect to see better performance.

Exact Match

[Panthers jersey]

Ads may show on searches for

panther jersey

panthers jerseys

Ads won’t show on searches for

buy panthers jersey

best site for panthers jersey

When choosing the right match type for a keyword, it’s usually a good idea to start at the top and work your way down. Begin with broad match keywords to show your ads on relevant searches, then monitor your keywords’ performance and make your match types more specific if you find that your ads are showing up for too many irrelevant variations of your keywords. The more you can target your audience, the more likely you are to convert your visitors, and develop relationships that will stand the test of time.

As a Google Partner, Command Partners is an agency certified by Google to manage AdWords accounts. We understand the nuances of keyword match types and the strategies that make them work best for each client.